By Leslie James and Josh Cowden
Should there be public shuttle service for students and professors who must commute long distances between Pikes Peak Community College’s three campuses?
The idea has been suggested by faculty and students many times in the last decade, says PPCC Faculty Senate President, Deidre Schoolcraft. “Everyone gets tired of running up and down I-25 to classes,” she said.
Mountain Metro Transit stops right by PPCC’s Downtown Studio Campus and the bus route has two stops on or near the Centennial Campus. But for students who needs help commuting to the Rampart Range Campus up north, they must endure an hour’s walk from Academy Boulevard to the building.
President Lance Bolton said he would like to see the City of Colorado Springs provide public transportation to Rampart and to other key locations important to students, such as hospitals, shopping areas, and office complexes.
“Currently, residents of our city who don’t own a vehicle cannot access those areas without engaging cabs, Uber or other expensive, private transportation options. I don’t think the right move is for PPCC to be the transportation provider. That isn’t our area and the benefits and costs could be spread much more equitably with public transportation.”
PPCC student, Ali Schapira, said, “I had to commute between two campuses last semester. I had a class on Wednesdays at Downtown, then four hours later I had one at Rampart. I think a shuttle would be beneficial especially on bad weather days.”
Schapira also emphasized the long walks into the buildings. With a shuttle service, students would have the luxury of being dropped off closer to the buildings, also making it safer for students at night.
Bolton was open to the idea of partnering with ride sharing companies such as Uber or Lyft, and said he was interested in hearing more about that.
Similar shuttle services are already in place at other campuses like University of Colorado at Boulder and at The University of Colorado Denver.
When asked what ideas or suggestions Dr. Bolton had already put in place, his response was, “I’ve spoken with our Mayor about the issue and pitched to him that access to our Rampart Campus by public transportation is in the best interest of the city. We have programs, such as nursing, that are only offered there. Providing access for all people in our city to be able to reach and attend our north campus is a good economic investment for the city. Students could write letters to their city council representatives and to the Mayor’s office asking for this service. What works best in those letters is to be respectful, polished, and make a good argument for why it matters to you.”